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A man suspected of distributing drugs laced with a deadly synthetic has been charged in connection with a suspected mass overdose in Pennsylvania.
Peter Rene Sanchez Montalvo was charged Monday with illegal distribution of a controlled substance. Federal prosecutors say he offered partygoers a white powder laced with the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl.
Survivors said they thought the white powder was cocaine, but after "they did a 'bump'" of the drug, "people immediately began to drop," according to a statement from federal prosecutors.
The group had been at a club in Pittsburgh’s Brookline neighborhood Saturday night, before leaving for an after-party at an apartment on the city’s south side where Sanchez Mantalvo was staying, local police said.
When first responders arrived at the apartment building Sunday morning, they found partygoer Rubio Clemente Martinez dead in an elevator, court documents said.
Inside the apartment, they discovered the bodies of Joel Pecina and Josue Serrano, according to court documents.
Three others "appeared to be suffering from some type of medical emergency" and were taken to a local hospital, the documents said.
Their conditions weren’t known Monday.
An unidentified partygoer told detectives that he got into a fight with Sanchez Montalvo after refusing the drugs, the documents said.
Sanchez Montalvo was then said to have fled the apartment. Authorities found him Monday morning at a home in a Pittsburgh suburb with a California driver’s license, a “large” amount of cash, cellphones and packing equipment for heroin, according to court documents.
Sanchez Montalvo faces 20 years to life in prison, prosecutors said. It wasn't immediately clear if he has a lawyer.